Chapter 33: Portrait
Cao Qian glanced at Xing Ye and silently took a tissue, gently wiping away Zeng Jingrou’s tears.
The ghost resumed its fierce and malicious appearance, its expression proving she was indeed an evil spirit.
Xing Ye just ignored her as he tried to link everything together.
“Who Killed Cock Robin” was a clue. The robin in the nursery was Liu Muqing; she was outstanding, beautiful, and had a healthy rivalry with Lin Jingxue. At the start, there wasn’t a problem. Unfortunately, somebody just had to be the sparrow. Envious of the two, she took Lin Xingxue’s expensive watch and put it in Liu Muqing’s locker.
There were also the birds in the nursery rhyme. At the very start, they were very indifferent: the housefly saw the robin die and the fish even caught the robin’s blood. But then suddenly, the winds changed, and they began to grieve for robin’s death inconsolably and the birds would put sparrow in the next court trial.
It was just like how after Liu Muqing was framed for stealing, the whole school treated her coldly and believed her to be guilty. She was poor but outstanding; outstanding enough to attract envy and poor enough to attract discrimination. They all took the chance to trample over her pride.
Liu Muqing, bearing a heart full of torment, was dazed, and without knowing what actually happened, fell off the stairs and died. After that, the birds all realized their deeds had actually harmed somebody, and the guilt made them shift their feelings onto Lin Jingxue.
She killed Liu Muqing. It was her fault. It had nothing to do with me. By thinking like that, they would feel less guilty.
As such, the birds started to mourn the wrongfully killed Robin and decided to try Sparrow in court.
But Lin Jingxue wasn’t the real sparrow. Furthermore, her father's report and Liu Muqing dying right in front of her made her feel enormous stress. Could a first-year high school student really bear such pressure?
The answer was no.
She had money. Xing Ye frequently used the power of money and knew buying poison wasn’t anything difficult.
The real Sparrow who had caused the two girls’ tragic deaths was still alive. The girl who entered the locker room first in the video- it was her.
After solving the mystery about Robin and Room 404, a new enigma appeared.
Logically speaking, the human head in the girls bathroom should be Liu Muqing. She fell to death, so she should’ve had an intact corpse. But if that was the case, why was she looking for her head? Could Miss Human Head have something to do with the weeping Mona Lisa or the youth running around campus hugging a head?
Why did Lin Jingxue leave behind the rhyme Cock Robin when she died? The sheet music with errors that Cao Qian took was most likely hers.
What about the headmaster? What was his role in all of this? Earlier, after hearing Xing Ye had broken the piano, he had recommended for Xing Ye to go to the political education prep room. He directly revealed the location of Room 404 to Xing Ye.
The headmaster clearly knew the inside story, but he chose to not expose the housefly. So then, why did he say that now?
With every question answered, countless more emerged. They only had one day left and tomorrow evening, they would be going to find the youth running around with a human head. They could only hope Di Kuang’s group would find new leads by then.
“The sheet music is with you, right? Let’s give it to Zeng Jingrou.” Xing Ye told Cao Qian after thinking everything over.
The whole time, Cao Qian had been hiding it under her pillow. She directly took it out and gave it to Zeng Jingrou. Zeng Jingrou flipped through the handwritten sheet music and her eyes immediately started to water again. “Thank you. This is my sister’s writing. It’s my sister’s handwriting, although I’m not sure when she wrote it.”
“Huh?” Cao Qian, who would always choose to speak as little as possible, suddenly made a sound of surprise.
Xing Ye looked at her in understanding. “How many points?”
Cao Qian showed Xing Ye her phone: Player Cao Qian has successfully returned the sheet music to the dead Lin Jingxue’s family and will be rewarded with 2000 points. Campus Search mission progress: 17%.
So much? Winning the game only rewards 100 points, but finding and returning the item gave far more. It’s no surprise then that Li Hong had more than 30,000 points. After all, the Following Fate camp was best at finding items.
Xing Ye thought for a moment before turning to Zeng Jingrou. “Let’s add each other on Wechat.”
The original owner of the body had once pursued Zeng Jingrou so when he made the request now, the grief in her eyes instantly turned into wariness, looking at Xing Ye guardedly.
Lin Jingxue also started to wrap her fingers around Xing Ye neck again.
Xing Ye hastily explained, “You don’t have to add me on Wechat, email’s fine too. Didn’t you want to know where I got the video from? I’ll send you the source.”
Zeng Jingrou realised she misunderstood Xing Ye and added him on Wechat, her face red.
Xing Ye forwarded her the video and the narrator’s voice, one he hadn’t heard in a long time, echoed in his head. “Player Xing Ye successfully returned evidence to the deceased Lin Jingxue’s family and will be rewarded with 500 points. Campus Search mission progress: 25.7%
Translator’s note: it said 1.257% in raws but then 0.25 right after so I just ignored the 1.
Xing Ye: “...”
What was going on with the .25 percent? They were only 1/4th done and still needed to give items to three more people?
Or is it saying they have to give Zeng Jingrou the original memory card? After all, you need evidence to bring somebody to court and just a video wouldn’t be enough.
With that in mind, he took out the memory card and handed it to Zeng Jingrou. “The video’s stored here.”
Zeng Jingrou accepted the memory card, her face red as she shyly thanked him. Xing Ye waited but still didn’t hear any notifications. It looks like the memory card wasn’t supposed to be left with her.
So Xing Ye just bluntly grabbed the memory card right out of Zeng Jingrou’s hands. “I changed my mind, I still need to use it.”
Zeng Jingrou was speechless.
Lin Jingxue moved to choke him again but Xing Ye just ignored her. If Lin Jingxue could kill him, he probably long would’ve died. The reason why it couldn’t actually do anything threatening right now was probably because a certain condition wasn’t triggered yet. It was like Miss Human Head- if they didn’t give her a head by tomorrow, she would probably just chop off their own heads.
Although they wouldn’t die, it definitely wouldn’t be a pleasant experience.
Cao Qian couldn’t help but warn Xing Ye, “Your eyes are starting to roll back.”
Xing Ye arduously spoke, “Zeng Jingrou, tell your sister to stop, or there won’t be anyone left who can prove her innocence.”
“My sister?” Zeng Jingrou’s eyes, wet with tears, saw the fingerprints around Xing Ye’s neck.
Lin Jingrou immediately let go. She wanted to hug Zeng Jingrou, but she could only touch empty air as she passed right through her.
The ghost stood in the room dejectedly, seeming like she wanted to cry but couldn’t. She was already dead.
“Sister, sister, are you here?” Zeng Jingrou asked.
“I guess you could say that. She’s become a resentful ghost, you just need to focus on proving her innocence.” Xing Ye said.
“Then what do you want for the memory card?” Zeng Jingrou bit her lip, “Do you want me to be your girlfriend? I… for my sister, I… it’s just becoming your girlfriend… sob…”
“Stop crying, nobody wants you.” Xing Ye’s face was cold, “Let’s talk properly. Do you know who the three girls in the photograph are?”
Lin Jingxue’s face turned vicious, practically spitting ‘how could you not want my sister to be your girlfriend!’. Xing Ye just ignored her. He had no interest in plots like ‘valiantly sacrificing myself for my sister’, or ‘older sister avenging her younger sister’. Arguing over such things would waste too much time- it was better to just be blunt.
Zeng Jingrou was still dazed by the volatility of the whole situation. It took awhile for her mind to catch up before she could answer. “She’s a friend my sister made after entering high school. Her name’s Bai Xu, and she had a close relationship with my sister. She even helped celebrate my sister’s birthday.”
Great. It was a tragedy birthed by envy.
“Then where is she now?” Xing Ye asked.
“She’s in year three class three. Ever since I’ve enrolled here, she’s always been taking care of me. Sister Bai’s studies are also very good, enough to make it into a top tier university.” Zeng Jingrou said.
“Alright, then we’re done here now. You should go back and study the video.” After Xing Ye was sure they wouldn’t be able to get any more leads from Zeng Jingrou, he gestured for her to leave.
“The one who should be leaving is you!” An angry shout suddenly boomed outside as the dormitory nanny walked in, holding a key. “How long have you been staying in the girls dormitory? Cao Qian’s classmate had already come to look after her, so why aren’t you leaving yet?”
Xing Ye was speechless.
The dormitory nanny npc really chose a good time to appear...
Hm? He seemed to have forgotten something.
He remembered on the first day, when they were going to explore the girls dormitory, a classmate said the dormitory nanny would shut the door at 11:30 and wouldn’t open it even if somebody screamed their lungs out.
The hidden details were truly many.
Xing Ye didn’t move, facing the dormitory nanny: “Ma’am, why do you always lock the gates at night? What is it about the girls dormitory that is making you so scared? You’re the dormitory supervisor, so the girls’ safety should be your responsibility. If you don’t come out even when somebody’s screaming outside, wouldn’t you be neglecting your duty?”
The dormitory nanny’s face changed as she stepped forward to grab Xing Ye. “Hurry up and leave, this isn’t a place where boys should be!”
Her strength was shocking. Xing Ye wasn’t weak, but he somehow couldn’t shake off the elderly nanny’s grip. This was illogical.
Xing Ye’s mind spun as he suddenly called out the victim’s name: “Lin Jingxue!”
The dormitory nanny stopped, her grip weakening when she heard Bai Xu’s name.
Bai Xu? It was actually Bai Xu? Could the nanny also be hiding some clues?
The dormitory nanny was only swayed for a moment before recovering. “You shouldn’t know about this. Hurry up and leave.”
Xing Ye was kicked out and Cao Qian hurried behind closely. Meanwhile, Zeng Jingrou returned to her dorm to watch the video on her laptop.
When Cao Qian found Xing Ye, he was in the gym, leaning on the wall with a frown. It was unclear what he was thinking.
Xing Ye pondered for a few moments before picking up his phone to give Di Kuang a call. Di Kuang picked up and asked, “Did you call to ask about the three girls? We’ve made some progress here. Mr. Ding found a record of one of the girls in the civics room. Her name’s Liu Muqing, but we couldn’t find a picture.”
”“I don’t care about that right now,” Xing Ye asked, “Earlier, you said you had leads on the weeping Mona Lisa. Let me guess- you guys didn’t find the original painting, but you found a canvas like that. It was drawn by a student two years ago and was entered into a competition, where it either won an award or got defeated.”
“How did you know?” Di Kuang blurted out.
“If they won the award, the painter should be Liu Muqing. If they lost, the painter is Bai Xu. Am I right?”
Di Kuang’s voice was filled with astonishment, “How do you know that too? It was painted by Bai Xu and lost the competition.”
“I know where that painting is.” Xing Ye said seriously.
“Where? I’ve searched everywhere in the school but I couldn’t find it.” Di Kuang said.
“There’s a place that we haven’t searched.” Xing Ye exclaimed, “No one has searched through the first and second floor of the girls’ dormitory building late at night in that other space.”